The importance of family photos

The importance of family photos

I strongly believe in the importance of family photos, and here’s why.

I first came over to England in May 2000 and instantly fell in love with London. Within a month, I was living here and, well, the rest is history!

But the one downside of being a French national living in England (‘Bonjour!’ to all fellow Francophiles by the way!) is that I often miss out on important family occasions.

By living in London, I miss important family occasions

My entire family are still living over in France – in Marseille, where I am originally from.

And, since I only travel back there once or twice a year, over the years there have been a lot of things that I’ve not been there to experience and share with them.

There will also certainly be more occasions that I will miss in the future. My nan is 90 this year and my sister is also getting married soon – I’m sad that I won’t be there to celebrate these big occasions with them.

Family photos are so important

So, yes, although I live in England because I love it here, there are definite downsides to being away from family. Perhaps, if you’re living here but are originally from another country, you can relate?

Why sharing photos is a family tradition

Because I am living in a different country to my family, I’m sad that I miss out on important family occasions, like weddings, births and birthdays.

I’ve missed out on seeing my nieces and nephews being born and growing up. Just as my Nan, my parents and sister over in France have missed out on seeing my two boys grow up.

This is why, as a family, we really value photography.

Keeping the family connection alive

Although I regularly take portraits of my boys so that I can keep a record of them as they grow, I also make sure that I send these photos as gifts to my French family.

My boys in 2016

My boys in 2016

My boys in 2018

Growing up fast! Pictured in November 2018.

Every Christmas and on birthdays too, portraits of the boys, and the occasional family photo, are sent over to France. What’s great is that they do the same, and I just love receiving photos of my French family.

Having a physical photo of them in my home, not just a digital copy saved on my phone or hard drive somewhere is wonderful. By far, my favourite gift every single year!

For our family, photos help to close the physical distance between us. That is why they are so important to us.

Do you document your growing family in photographs?

Many of my clients are Europeans living in London, and they often say to me that photos are so important to them for the same reasons.

They hire me as their family portrait photographer because they want to have professional-quality photos to look back in years to come. But also because they want to share them with family and friends.

Whether they come to me for maternity portraits, newborn photography, or to have updated photographs taken of their toddlers, older children or, together, as a family, my clients appreciate the value of family photography.

The importance of family photos

  • Do you share this belief in the importance of family photos?
  • Do you have family members who you don’t get to see that often that would appreciate an updated photo?
  • And if so, would you like to have some child or family portraits taken?

If you’re looking to invest in professional family photos, whatever the time of year, I believe that you’d be making a great investment. I literally can’t overstate the importance of family photos!

I’d love to see you and your family in my photography studio soon so that I can help you capture these precious family moments.

Please get in touch to enquire about my availability by completing this contact form.

What to wear to your autumn family photoshoot

If you’ve booked an autumn family photoshoot with me, you’ll likely be wondering what you should all wear for the photos.

I know this because it’s often the very first question my clients ask me after they’ve made the booking. And I understand completely.

After all, for us ladies, deciding what to wear most days is hard enough, isn’t it?

Let alone, when you are going to be photographed by a professional photographer!

Your outfits are an important consideration

Autumn family photo walks in London

The common challenge parents have when it comes to family portrait sessions is deciding what the whole family should wear so that you all look good. (Although let’s be honest, it’s usually mum who is in charge of sorting the outfits, right?)

You’ve booked a family photoshoot because you want an up-to-date picture of your family. But you know that the clothes you’ll all wear on the day will impact the overall look of the photos, so you want to choose wisely.

You don’t want the photos to look dated in just a few years’ time.

And, ideally, you want to look the very best possible versions of yourselves. You want to hang the best photos from your session on your walls at home and be proud to look at them every day.

Well, your luck’s in because today I’m sharing my top tips for what to wear to your autumn family photoshoot.

I want to help you avoid the stress that can come when trying to decide on the outfits. I don’t want you to go into a tailspin about this!

What to wear to your autumn family photoshoot

1. Consider the colours of the season

My first tip is to consider the seasonal colours that you’ll be photographed amongst.

The lovely rich reds, oranges and browns will likely be the backdrop to your photoshoot, so I’d suggest you take the lead from nature. Use this as inspiration for the clothes you choose to wear for the portrait session.

So, colour-wise – anything that complements these gorgeous autumn colours will work really well.

That means warm neutrals, creams, tan, beige, orange, mustard yellows, and light and dark browns. Navy blues, greys and warm berry colours also look fantastic at this time of year.

Family portrait in London

2. Aim to create a coordinated look

Once you’ve chosen a colour palette, the next thing to do is aim to carry that through the clothes of your entire family.

You won’t want to make this look like you’ve tried too hard. But a subtle, underlying theme running through all of your outfits will create a coordinated look.

So, just avoid putting your daughter in a bright pink cardigan for example, if the rest of the family are wearing creams and browns.

For variety, wear different patterns and introduce different textures in your clothes to make the colour scheme not look too contrived.

Outdoor family portrait

3. Layer up!

Although we are often spoilt with beautiful and mild autumns, here in the UK, I would still suggest that you get cosy and layer up for your autumn family photoshoot.

I will be taking pictures of you for only a short while, but I don’t want you to come underdressed and potentially catch a chill if the weather isn’t at its best.

Nor will you want to look cold in the photos – chattering teeth and huddled shoulders will not look good on the photos!

So, bring a coat – you can always take it off if it’s mild and you really don’t want to wear it. Also, wear chunky knitted jumpers that look great in autumn. And accessories – scarves, hats, gloves – these are all great for portrait sessions at this time of year too.

Young boy during Autumn photo walk

4. Wear suitable footwear

One thing that can easily be overlooked is what footwear to come in for your autumn family photoshoot.

I always suggest you bring along a pair of wellies if there has been rain ahead of your photoshoot. The ground can be wet.

But, if you can, wear only plain coloured wellies and that includes the kids – bright colours and patterns will distract the eye and be the focus of the picture, rather than you.

Otherwise, ladies, come in ankle books or knee-high boots over jeans, men can wear smart canvas pumps or shoes – whatever they feel comfortable in. Kids look great in boots or smart shoes or pumps. Just avoid sports trainers if you can.

Inspiration and examples of what to wear to your autumn family photoshoot

If you’ve booked one of my limited-availability autumn photo walks, or whether you have booked an outdoor family portrait session, to be held at a venue of your own choice, what you should definitely do is give plenty of thought to your family’s outfits beforehand.

Take a look at my Autumn clothing inspiration board on Pinterest– I’ve created it especially for you. It’s packed full of examples of chic family outfits that would work really well on camera.

I hope it helps to give you lots of inspiration for what to wear to your autumn family photoshoot this year.

Do post in the comments below about what colour scheme you have decided on, or feel free to contact me on 07507 665493 or complete the contact form on my website if you need any more help.

Sandra x

Photos you should take of your children include baby, toddler and preschool portraits

Thirty photos you should take of your children

As both a baby photographer and a mum, you won’t be surprised to hear that I’m passionate about recording family moments in photographs.

And this is true to the extent that I literally don’t go anywhere without my camera or my phone and am always taking snaps of my two boys.

Whether it’s them playing in the garden, at their much-loved jujitsu class or when they are just goofing around after school, I believe it’s so important to capture everyday moments in photos.

Photographing family moments

You, like me, probably have thousands of snapshots of your children, yes?

After all, it’s so easy to grab our camera phones. So, we certainly have no shortage of photos of our kids.

Smiling toddler by Sandra Cullen Photography

But, in addition to those important everyday moments, there are many key milestones that I think are absolutely essential to record in photos during your baby’s first few years of life.

There are just so many photos you should take of your children.


Free checklist

Which is why I have created a downloadable checklist which is available to you for free if you join my mailing list.

My checklist includes no less than 30 photos that I would encourage you to take throughout your child’s early years.

It covers off all the key developmental stages from newborn through to that first day at school, listing my recommendations of what to photograph at each stage.

Photos you should take of your children

The idea is that you download and print off the checklist, pin it to your noticeboard or fridge and tick them off the photos as you go. Plus, there’s space to add your own ideas too.

Subscribe to my newsletter to claim your free checklist

The free checklist will be yours as a thank you for signing up for my newsletter.

As a subscriber, you’ll receive occasional news and updates about my products and services, plus useful photography tips to help you capture great photos at home.

Sign up here and I’ll then send you your copy straight away.

Once you’ve downloaded the checklist, I hope you’ll agree that it serves as a handy reference of what moments to capture and as a reminder to ensure that you don’t miss any of those key milestones in your baby’s early years.

Whether you opt to take these pictures yourself or choose to hire a professional baby photographer like me, it will certainly be time well spent.

Fleeting childhood memories

As we all know, time just flies, and children grow up so fast.

You’ll be taking sleeping pics of your curled up newborn bundle one minute and then before you know it, you’ll be chasing after your carefree toddler.

The pre-school years go so quickly! Which is why I created the checklist.

A first birthday celebration is one of the photos you should take of your children

I’m often asked what occasions are important for parents to photograph, and the checklist answers that very question by listing all the photos you should take of your children.

Of course, I encourage you to take photos of your kids EVERY SINGLE DAY, but I’d recommend that you’re especially careful to photograph the 30 photos listed on the checklist.

Photos you’ll just love to look back on

Based on my experience as both a mum and a professional baby photographer, these are the important moments that you’ll love to look back on in years to come and you won’t want to miss.

Photos you should take of your children include baby, toddler and preschool portraits

If you don’t take these photos of your children, your memories will be all you have left. And as we all know, photographs last far longer than memories, which can fade over time.

So, don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter in order to get your free copy of the checklist ’30 must-have pictures of your children’.

And if you’d let to get in touch to enquire about booking a professional photoshoot with me, please contact me at or call 07507 665493.

I offer a Baby Plan package which includes the opportunity to have your baby professionally photographed at three stages within their first year – you can discover more details here.

Smiling toddler by Sandra Cullen Photography

Nine must-know local baby businesses | South-east London

If you are trying to conceive, are pregnant or are a new parent based in south-east London, read on!

In today’s blog, I’m going to be introducing you to some lovely local baby businesses that you may want to check out.

Local baby businesses I recommend

I happen to know several independent business owners; all lovely ladies with a common interest in either pregnancy, birth and parenting.

As I am, with my baby portrait photography business, they’re all serving the community in the local area; covering Greenwich and south-east London.

In the spirit of collaboration, I’m giving them a shout-out today.

I hope that you may take look at what they are up to online and perhaps to use their services in the future.

Toddler boy photographed by Sandra Cullen Photography

Specialist pregnancy, baby and parenting services

Why am I doing this?

Well, becoming a parent opens up a whole new world. I know because I’ve been there, twice!

It’s unchartered territory for most. And it can be difficult to know who to turn to or who to trust if you’re in need of some external advice, support or specialist services.

For example, during your pregnancy you may want to:

  • take up a pregnancy yoga class or hire someone to give you a pregnancy massage
  • hire a hypnobirthing consultant to help you prepare for the birth of your baby
  • or even seek out the help of a doula to support you on the day of your baby’s arrival.

Or if your baby has already arrived, you may want to:

  • get the support of a lactation consultant if you’re breastfeeding your new baby
  • or you may be looking for a baby yoga class to take your newborn along to since you’ve heard it can help to relieve common baby ailments like indigestion and constipation.

All of this and more, I’ve got you covered!

Nine local baby businesses in south-east London

A personal recommendation

It’s often really valuable to receive a personal recommendation, isn’t it?

A Google search will bring up lots of options. But when you’re busy juggling family and work, researching local consultants or specialist support services can easily fall to the bottom of the to-do list.

And so, I hope that you find my recommendations for these local baby businesses useful.

I’d urge you to check them out and get in touch with them if you’d like to know more about how they may be able to help you.

I stand by the fact that all of these ladies are absolutely brilliant at what they do!

Smiling toddler by Sandra Cullen Photography

Please share with your friends

If you find my list of local baby businesses (below) useful, please feel free to share with anyone you know who may also get value from it.

And one final request, if you do get in touch with any of these as a result of reading this blog, please mention that you heard of them through me. Thank you!

And thanks for reading,

Sandra x

A free resource for parents and parents-to-be

Baby boy portrait by Sandra Cullen Photography


Natalie Yunnie offers pregnancy yoga, postnatal and mum and baby yoga.

Find out more at


Natelie Henriques at Mother and Bump offers birth and post-natal doula services, birth preparation, hypnobirthing, mobile baby massage and postnatal massage, pilates and 1-2-1 Yoga. She covers south east London and north Kent.

Find out more at


Suki Chung at Blissful Thinking offers mobile massage and wellbeing services.  Including pre-and post-natal massage, reflexology and pamper parties – ideal for a baby shower, hen night or girls night in.

Find out more at


Carmen Pagor of Beyond Milk is an experienced lactation expert who offers individual home consultations across south east London and parts of Kent. She offers telephone and Skype consultations for returning to work planning.

Find out more at


Rene Bozier is a private midwife and also works for Neighbourhood Midwives which offer personalised care packages for women throughout their pregnancy, birth and beyond.

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Sarah Lam of Mama Lam is an experienced doula and also offers placenta encapsulation in London and north Kent.

Find out more at


Gina Potts, founder of ZenBirth, is a leading hypnobirthing practitioner in the South East of the UK.

ZenBirth is a team of experienced birth professionals offering hypnobirthing antenatal classes across London and the home counties, and worldwide via Skype. Gina teaches group and private course across South East London and Kent.

Find out more at

And a couple of bonus suggestions, which you may also find useful…


Hannah Evans of A Taste of Occasion creates all my cakes – for my cake smash portrait sessions and for my personal needs. Need a cake? Whether it’s a christening, first birthday, wedding or any other occasion, contact Hannah!

Find out more at


Joanna Neil of The Beauty Room is my personal beauty therapist and is amazing at what she does! She is a fully qualified beauty therapist with over 20 years experience and offers a range of beauty treatment.

Find out more at